It’s crunch time in the World of Fantasy Football, with leagues gearing up for playoff season. Most fantasy leagues target week 14 for their first round of playoff games so, for teams on the bubble, these last two weeks are particularly important.
As if things weren’t already crazy enough, add to this mix the Thanksgiving holiday complete with three games featuring a bunch of big name players, some key rivalry matchups, teams fighting for real divisional locks or wildcard spots, and an injury report overflowing with a host of weekly starters, all coming together to make this one stressful run for the playoffs. On the good news front—the bye weeks are over. So we’ve got that going for us.
As for this week’s injuries, let’s start things off with a look at the quarterbacks (because let’s face it, this portion of the report is a mess).
Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is out for an estimated 6 to 8 weeks with a broken thumb. This effectively takes him out for the Fantasy Season. Look for Caleb Hanie to start in his place, but Cutler and Matt Cassel owners should also keep a close eye on Kyle Orton (just released by the Broncos), as both the Bears and Chiefs may be looking for a veteran leader to step in. Orton could be an interesting pickup in deeper leagues if that should happen.
Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub suffered a serious fracture/dislocation of the tarsometatarsal joint (mid-foot) in week 10 and is out indefinitely. These are very painful and have a bad tendency to linger. Dynasty owners should pay particular attention to any reports out of Houston. Those in regular leagues should prepare to go on without Schaub. Matt Leinart will get the start in his place. Most analysts see little value in Leinart, but he may have some upside moving forward given the potency of that offense.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has an injured thumb but we do not consider this a major injury and we fully expect him to play this week.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick has a couple broken ribs. Normally this wouldn’t be of much concern but these are the bottom two ribs and they tie in directly to the abdominal muscles, making this a very painful injury, particularly for a quarterback. As such, we think it’s unlikely he will return this week but we would advise owners to carefully monitor practice reports and look for back-to-back participation on consecutive days. If Vick can’t go, look for Vince Young to start again in his place. Last week Young went for roughly 260 and 2 TDs, offering a nice boost for anyone who might have played him.
Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck injured the muscle in his right arm on Sunday but the good news for his owners is that there was no structural damage. This is simply a pain management issue and it really just comes down to how much pain he will experience when throwing the ball. We consider this a day-to-day issue that is too close to call. If pressed, we would expect him to start (just betting on better living through chemistry and painkillers on this one), but this is truly no better than 50/50 until we get more info from the team. If Hasselbeck can’t go, then look for rookie QB Jake Locker to fill in. Locker had a solid performance in relief last week.
Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb is still nursing a right foot injury and is not looking good to start this week. According to comments from head coach Ken Wisenhunt, Kolb wasn’t even close to being ready to go last Sunday. The injury, which includes both a major sprain and turf toe, has sidelined Kolb since week 8. John Skelton would start in Kolb’s place but is not a viable fantasy option. Given Kolb’s status, we’d look at other options right now, even if that means snatching someone like Matt Moore (Miami) off waivers.Wide Receivers – Page 2